The increase in irregular entries of refugees and migrants from Venezuela through Chile’s northern borders in 2021, in some cases propelled by pandemic-induced economic downturns in neighboring countries, has resulted in heightened protection risks for refugees and migrants. A R4V partner survey found that 73 per cent of refugees and migrants from Venezuela who used unofficial border points to enter Chile are in an irregular situation, additional to an unknown number of people in irregular situation already in the country. The National R4V Platform’s joint needs analysis found that refugees and migrants from Venezuela have been more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation as a result of this situation. In addition, visa renewal processes have been delayed due to national lockdowns.
Communities along the northern border that serve as sites of first reception have been struggling to meet the emergency shelter, health and food needs of new arrivals: the JNA found that 64 per cent of refugees and migrants from Venezuela in the northern regions are living in highly precarious conditions, including homelessness. Those in dire situations require humanitarian transportation to reach larger urban areas, such as Santiago, with greater integration opportunities.
Among the population in destination, some 13 per cent of Venezuelans in Chile live under the poverty line, often working in the informal sector and earning less than that minimum wage, with concerning reports of discrimination and xenophobia in the workplace. Refugees and migrants from Venezuela also face barriers to access essential healthcare (due to coverage limitations, costs and lack of information) and education (with 12 per cent of children and adolescents not attending school)